Sandia Labs News Releases

Category Archives: Renewable energy

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Four masked people look at a clear cube with ripples and a burnt center

Exploring explosives for expanding geothermal energy

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Why are scientists setting off small-scale explosions inside 1-foot cubes of plexiglass? They’re watching how fractures form and grow in a rock-like substance to see if explosives or propellants, similar to jet fuel, can connect geothermal wells in a predictable manner. Geothermal energy has a lot of promise as a renewable energy […]

An illustration with solar panels and a dome on the moon with another base further away and the Earth in the sky.

Powering the moon: Sandia researchers design microgrid for future lunar base

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories is well-known for designing reliable and resilient microgrids for military bases and vital city services. Now, Sandia researchers are working with NASA to design one for the moon. This is not the first time Sandia has partnered with NASA to power equipment on the moon. In fact, Sandia provided […]

Portrait of Babu Chalamala

Sandia engineer elected fellow of two prestigious national societies

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Babu Chalamala, an engineer and manager of Sandia National Laboratories’ energy storage group, was recently elected fellow of two prestigious national societies. On Jan. 26, he became a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. On Dec. 7, he became a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. According […]

Two people look at blueprints with Sandia

Sandia creates global archive of historical renewable energy documents

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories began studying the power of the sun to produce utility-scale energy in the 1960s. Sandia’s National Solar Thermal Test Facility was commissioned in 1978, spurred by the oil crisis of 1973. Many of the documents detailing the design, construction and research conducted at the world’s first multimegawatt concentrating solar […]

High-speed alloy creation might revolutionize hydrogen’s future

LIVERMORE, Calif. — A Sandia National Laboratories team of materials scientists and computer scientists, with some international collaborators, have spent more than a year creating 12 new alloys — and modeling hundreds more — that demonstrate how machine learning can help accelerate the future of hydrogen energy by making it easier to create hydrogen infrastructure […]

Sandia uncovers hidden factors that affect solar farms during severe weather

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories researchers combined large sets of real-world solar data and advanced machine learning to study the impacts of severe weather on U.S. solar farms, and sort out what factors affect energy generation. Their results were published earlier this month in the scientific journal Applied Energy. Hurricanes, blizzards, hailstorms and wildfires […]

Foreground, two glass tubes connected at an angle with shiny metal in one tube and purple liquid in the other. Background woman with hands in a glove box.

Sandia designs better batteries for grid-scale energy storage

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have designed a new class of molten sodium batteries for grid-scale energy storage. The new battery design was shared in a paper published today in the scientific journal Cell Reports Physical Science. Molten sodium batteries have been used for many years to store energy from renewable sources, […]

Two men in protective helmats look at a solar module under a bright light.

Sandia-led center to advance understanding of new solar panel technology

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Department of Energy recently awarded $14 million to form a Sandia National Laboratories-led center to improve the understanding of perovskite-based photovoltaic technologies and determine the best tests to evaluate the new solar panels’ lifetimes. The efficiency of perovskite-based solar cells has reached 25%, approaching the levels of common crystalline silicon-based solar […]

Shadowed man in front of a row of solar panels.

Sandia app assesses value of energy storage for businesses, utilities

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Utility companies and corporate project developers now have help assessing how much money adding an energy storage system will save them thanks to new Sandia National Laboratories software. The software, called Quest, can also be used by energy researchers to evaluate different energy storage scenarios and model the potential of new solutions. […]

Two small balloons against a blue sky to the left of a large tower with a

Here comes the sun: Tethered-balloon tests ensure safety of new solar-power technology

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — What do tiny dust particles, 22-foot-wide red balloons and “concentrated” sunlight have in common? Researchers from Sandia National Laboratories recently used 22-foot-wide tethered balloons to collect samples of airborne dust particles to ensure the safety of an emerging solar-power technology. The study determined that the dust created by the new technology is […]

Scientist in protective gear looks at a cyan and red couston-built wind turbine emulator

New tool at Sandia brings some West Texas wind to the Duke City — virtually

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have a new tool that allows them to study wind power and see whether it can be efficiently used to provide power to people living in remote and rural places or even off the grid, through distributed energy. A new, custom-built wind turbine emulator has been installed […]

Carbon fiber optimized for wind turbine blades could bring cost, performance benefits

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A new carbon fiber material could bring cost and performance benefits to the wind industry if developed commercially, according to a study led by researchers at Sandia National Laboratories. Wind blades containing carbon fiber weigh 25% less than ones made from traditional fiberglass materials. That means carbon fiber blades could be longer […]

Armijo at Molten Salt Test Loop

Turning up the heat on molten salt valves

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories is partnering with Flowserve Corp. and Kairos Power LLC on a $2.5 million, three-year Department of Energy Advanced Valve Project grant to lower the cost and boost the efficiency of concentrating solar power in the U.S. Control valves are a critical link in managing the solar energy captured by […]


Materials’ increased capacity, efficiency could lower the bar for hydrogen technology

LIVERMORE, Calif. — Hydrogen as a carbon-free energy source could expand into a variety of sectors, including industrial processes, building heat and transportation. Currently, it powers a growing fleet of zero-emission vehicles, including trains in Germany, buses in South Korea, cars in California and forklifts worldwide. These vehicles use a fuel cell to combine hydrogen […]

Wind blade robotic crawler

Don’t set it and forget it — scan it and fix it with tech that detects wind blade damage

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Drones and crawling robots outfitted with special scanning technology could help wind blades stay in service longer, which may help lower the cost of wind energy at a time when blades are getting bigger, pricier and harder to transport, Sandia National Laboratories researchers say. As part of the Department of Energy’s Blade […]

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